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Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman challenges Obama to let her play in his all-guys basketball games

October 30, 2009 |  2:28 pm

Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman in action at 50

Nancy Lieberman, a Basketball Hall of Fame member, is calling the president out.

Barack Obama, who's noted that he's surrounded by females with his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law living with him, loves his basketball with male pals.

The president has had some recent basketball games on the White House basketball court  -- guys only. Mainly congressional guys.

Last Sunday for the first time as president he allowed a female to join his regular golfing foursome.

And that fraternity-like atmosphere has caused some gender grumbling.

Now, in a "frank" open letter to the Democrat chief executive today on, Lieberman challenges Obama to some hoops mano a mana, so to speak. Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman

She says:

Some women are saying you need a time-out. Your men-only basketball games have been scrutinized — and criticized for consistently leaving women out.

Your defenders call that charge ridiculous, saying everyone knows that women can play golf with men, but not basketball...which of course only annoys women more.

Well, I have a solution. To score some real points with the public, stop arguing and just play ball — with the best. Shoot some hoops with yours truly.

Lieberman, an Olympic gold medalist at 18, WNBA veteran and ESPN analyst, even signed a short-term contract to play as a pro at age 50. 

Her good-natured but firm letter says she'd like to help him bring change to the country. "It's what I've done my whole life as a woman in sports," she writes.

"It's always good for sports when new barriers are broken," she adds.

And Lieberman promises:

If invited to play at the White House, I solemnly vow to protect, preserve and defend the basketball until my team wins.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press; ESPN.